Every major tournament it seems as if it is the same two guys that we always talk about, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, as if I even needed to say it. However, in the past two tournaments we have seen Roger wavering. After nearly losing in the first round of Wimbledon he made his second straight quarterfinal exit, after not having lost that early in 23 straight major tournaments. And although Rafael Nadal may be one of the most versatile players in the world, he has always struggled in Flushing Meadows, having never reached the finals. With these two players being somewhat wild cards, who can take advantage? Which players not in the top 10 will make a run for their money?
Marin Cilic has been on the brink of greatness the past year after having his best result to date in Flushing when he reached the quarterfinals. Then in Australia he went to the semis. After an ugly first round exit at Wimbledon, Cilic should be able to do well on the hard court. He will face Iliya Marchenko in the first round tomorrow at 11:00 a.m.
Although he may not be the best in Switerland, that honor goes to Roger, he sure does have the ability to beat him on a very good day. Stanislas has consistently been in the conversation as a top player for years now and has good experience. He has reached the fourth round here twice and will play Mikhail Kukushkin in the first round.
Don't let the 31 seed fool you, this guy is on a tear. Due to injury, he hasn't played in a major since the Australia in 2009, but has come back this summer with a force, and has found a way to earn a seed in this years tournament. Nalbandian has tremendous experience having played in a major final before, and is a great talent. If he continue playing this way, he may have a better shot than some think. He will be playing qualifier Rik De Voest in the first round.
Mardy Fish has always been one of the greater disappointments of American tennis. He is one of those guys that usually is lucky if he finds himself in the second week, which is very rare. However, now, after shredding 30 pounds, and having the best summer of his career in which he finished in third place in the Olympus U.S. Open Series, not to mention having a New York Times piece featuring him...he might just be ready to take his game to the next level. He will play Jan Hajek in the first round.
Marcos Baghdatis is coming off a second place finish at the U.S. Open series, which is easily the best hard court summer of his career. This crowd pleaser may be known in Flushing for his amazing five set loss to Andre Agassi during his final Queens tour, but if he can put a good run together, he may be able to boost his resume. He will play Arnaud Clement in the first round.